BMW 1 Series China spyshots 1

It is no surprise that BMW is currently hard at work to develop a rival for the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and Audi A3 Sedan, both of which are front-wheel drive models. That model is currently being referred to as the F52 BMW 1 Series Sedan, which has been sighted on numerous occasions, the latest being in China.

Here, the test mule (spied by Chinese site Auto Home) still sports the usual swirly camouflage, with only the roof, A-pillar and hood of the car left uncovered, revealing a white paintjob beneath. Like the other test mules sighted on the track, road and snow, the 1 Series Sedan here also retains the same five twin-spoke alloy wheel design as well.

Recently, BMW debuted its Concept Compact Sedan (CCS) at the 2015 Guangzhou Auto Show, which it described as a vision of a “four-door sedan for the compact segment.” Naturally, we’d expect some of the design cues of that concept to feature on the production version of the 1 Series Sedan as well.

BMW 1 Series China spyshots 2

Underpinning the F52 BMW 1 Series Sedan is reportedly the UKL platform that can also be found on several MINI models and front-wheel drive BMWs like the 2 Series Active and Gran Tourer, and the X1. With that in mind, this could very well be BMW’s first-ever front-wheel drive sedan.

On the powertrain front, the 1 Series Sedan is expected to adopt the 1.5 litre turbo three-pot mill found in the current F56 MINI Cooper and the B48 2.0 litre turbocharged four-pot in the Cooper S. The engine could be paired to a six-speed manual or eight-speed Steptronic gearbox.

The BMW 1 Series Sedan is being touted as a China-only model for now, according to rumours. However, considering the fact that its competition are global models, do you think BMW should offer the model outside China as well? We certainly think so.

GALLERY: BMW Concept Compact Sedan

GALLERY: F52 BMW Compact Sedan production car on test